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Conservation Innovation Grants

The Conservation Innovation Grant program (CIG) is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or non-governmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals.

CIG enables NRCS to work with other public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the Nation's most pressing natural resource concerns. CIG will benefit agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement and compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers CIG. CIG recipients must provide a non-federal funding match or cost-share amount at least equal to the amount of federal funding requested. Applications that do not include cost-sharing will be ineligible for award.

Maryland 2021 CIG

NRCS will accept proposals for single or multiyear projects, not to exceed three years, submitted by eligible entities from Maryland.  Eligible entities include Indian Tribes, State and local units of government, non-governmental organizations, and individuals.

Proposal Deadline: March 15, 2021

Proposals that demonstrate the use of innovative technologies and/or approaches to address at least one bolded topic listed below will be considered.

1. Innovative Technology or Methods/or Water Quality or Nutrient Management

Cost-effective and innovative solutions are needed to expand the range of acceptable options in the management of agricultural nutrients, especially manure. Field based research or demonstrations are needed for feasibility and implementation of innovative technology for nitrogen and phosphorus management and other water quality concerns such as silage leachate.

2. Environmental Health and Productivity of Grazing Land

NRCS is seeking proposals that help livestock producers improve soil health and to establish, obtain, maintain, and evaluate on-site data at the farm scale that quantify effects of their grazing management decisions, systems and strategies. Projects must:

  • Demonstrate and evaluate techniques, approaches or incentives that encourage adoption of science based grazing land improvements and soil health treatments.
  • Methodologies for demonstrations may include case studies, surveys, and results from cooperatives. Projects can include existing tools and technology or the development of new ones.

3. Soil Health and Regenerative Agriculture

Develop, demonstrate, inform, and promote design and implementation of Soil Health Management Systems that are location-and production system-appropriate, economically viable, and improve soil health/soil functioning (e.g., improve nutrient cycling, optimize nutrient availability, optimize productivity, control soil-borne diseases, increase plant-available water, increase resilience to extreme weather), including:

  • Implementation strategies for feasible transition from degraded soils in varied production systems.
  • Integration of livestock into existing cropping systems, including applicable technologies such as fencing and water system innovations.
  • Transitions to more diverse cropping rotations and grazing systems.
  • Optimal species mixes, seeding rates and seeding methods (e.g., inter-seeding, inter-cropping, frost-seeding) to enhance cover crop  establishment/survival, as well as management and termination.
  • Innovative approaches to incorporating cover crops in high intensity/high value cropping systems that address concerns such as delayed planting, pest issues, residue challenges and nitrogen availability challenges.
  • Establishment and management a/grazing systems that incorporate multiple plant species.
  • Other treatments used to promote a positive soil biology balance to stimulate increased nutrient cycling and improve crop production.

Proposal Deadline: March 15, 2021

Applications must be submitted electronically by visiting and searching for opportunity number USDA-NRCS-MD-CIG-21-NOFO0001056. 


NRCS Field Offices, located in the USDA Service Centers in each Maryland county, can provide additional details and program assistance concerning CIG eligibility requirements, practices, and payments. Additional information can be found at the national CIG website.

Program Contact

Mikel Williams
Farm Bill Program Specialist
Phone: 443.482.2923